Rev. Maurice Winley, Founder and Executive Director
Every dream begins with a seed: a thought, an idea, a vision, a vow, a what if. For Maurice, a third generation minister carrying on the legacy of his family, his call to serve youth and young adults whom he once was like, began with a thought. That thought became a vow. During an executive training program, he had a vision for a nonprofit and he laid it out. Then one day, someone approached him and asked him a question: “What if…”. That “what if” led to the Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub (LRYOH), a long envisioned nonprofit initiative birthed from the vow he made as a young adult, and launched in 2017 to serve the youth, young adults, families and communities of Central and West Harlem.
Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub is strategically positioned to innovate and impact healing, wholeness and life changing transformation, to drastically reduce youth involvement in the criminal justice system, to potentially eradicate recidivism and ultimately effect emergent revitalized communities through re-envisioned lives. Maurice not only seeks to equip, motivate and empower the youth and young adults he comes alongside, he seeks to also unearth the wealth that’s inherently embedded in their souls. He believes the core of his passion and insights about youth and families, especially young men, comes from his own personal experiences as a teenager, which he shares powerfully at every opportunity.
During his acceptance, Maurice said: “I was once a young man who was lost. I was once a young man who was part of the problem, now I am part of the solution. I believe that young people, they are faced with overwhelming odds, but it is going to take love to peel back that pain. And so through this opportunity to bring comprehensive services to these young people, we are so grateful for this opportunity to be able to bring hope, peace and love to these young people and at the same time partner with creating a sustainable pathway for them to thrive and live in their own communities.”
The Dream Becomes Life WorkDuring his early years, Maurice worked tirelessly to mentor, provide essential services, opportunities, and prosocial support for the youth he served, engaging their families and communities when necessary, with devotion, love and patience. The ways and methodologies he uses are designed to inspire transformative, healthy lifestyles through mentoring and building relationships. Maurice’s goal in meeting the needs of youth and families incorporates immediate relief and long-term development, influencing right attitudes, behaviors and values, and implementing best practices, while focusing on healing, restoration and transformation for sustainable personal and professional growth. To accomplish his goal, himself a Credible Messenger and a central figure in the development of Credible Messengers and Transformative Mentoring as a viable model and approach to youth work, Maurice successfully integrates the principles and best practices in his personal mentoring, demonstrating their efficacy. Outcomes translate to successful, prospering lives. This is evidenced in the lives of three individuals from among the many troubled youth Maurice mentored over the years and continues to mentor: the Hammond brothers, Dedrick “Beloved” Hammond and Dorin Hammond, featured in a Navigators video: “Hope in the Hard Places” (watch the video in our Media section), now members of the LRYOH Credible Messengers team, and Makeba Reece, also a member of the LRYOH team as a Peer Mentor. Makeba, while continuing her own healing and transformational journey, works with young ladies and teen moms. This ultimately is the legacy of his life work and the fruit of Credible Messengers and Transformative Mentoring: changed lives, pay it forward, replication and long lasting life relationships.
Youth Development Specialist & Consultant on Youth Initiatives
Over the years, Maurice has worked with the full spectrum of youth in various systems and settings. A dynamic speaker, trainer and experienced counselor, he is a sought-after consultant on youth initiatives with community based organizations throughout, and out of the Greater New York City area. Maurice has worked with national and international faith based organizations such as World Vision, Youth for Christ, Navigators, the National Chaplains Association for Youth at Risk, and as Director of Positive Youth Development for St. Christopher’s Inc., an adolescent residential treatment facility serving New York City youth.
Maurice has been active as a youth development specialist with over 25 years of experience working with at-risk youth and families, designing and implementing programs. Understanding that life change and transformation require a wholistic approach as a central element to working with youth in their context, Maurice engages a three-pronged approach incorporating youth, family and community.
In 2011, he founded The Winley Group Inc with the dbas R.E.A.L., and Living Redemption as the faith based arm for consultancy services working with faith based organizations. R.E.A.L. Solutions for Youth is an activist consultancy providing real, effective, authentic and livable solutions that are youth centered, family focused and community driven. R.E.A.L. was established as a platform to train, consult and motivate other youth leaders, youth organizations, educational institutions and systems with innovative missional approaches for youth engagement.
In 2012, Maurice served as Director of Transformative Mentoring for Harlem Commonwealth Council where he launched, and continues to oversee, the ARCHES Mentoring intervention Program for young adults on probation in New York City. The ARCHES program helps justice-involved youth change the attitudes and behaviors that led to their criminal activity, with a goal of helping clients move out of the criminal justice system by strengthening their attachment to education, work and community. This site was recognized as a model site frequently visited by key stakeholders such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Young Men’s Initiative and my Brother’s Keeper, to demonstrate the efficacy of Credible Messenger Mentoring. In March 2013, the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), and Department of Probation selected Maurice as the winner of the 2013 CEO Data-Driven Provider Award, the High Performing Provider for his implementation of the ARCHES transformative mentoring program. Maurice is also a former member of the DOP City-Wide Arches Learning Community Steering Committee.
In 2015, Maurice launched the Next STEPS Mentoring Program (Striving Towards Engagement & Peaceful Solutions) for Harlem’s NYCHA St. Nicholas Houses under the NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, which aligned itself with the White House’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. Launched in August 2011, the New York City Young Men’s Initiative continues to be the nation’s most comprehensive municipal strategy tackling the disparities faced by young men of color. Next STEPS is part of Mayor de Blasio’s Action Plan for Community Safety (MAP for Community Safety), which involves the coordinated efforts of ten city agencies (NYCHA, NYPD, DYCD, HRA, Parks, OCDV, DFTA, CEO, OCJ and DOP), community groups, non-profits, and residents of public housing. This City initiative aims to reduce violent crime and fear, build strong neighborhoods, and promote community accountability.
Emergent Leader in Transformative Mentoring and the Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement
Maurice has emerged as a thought leader in the implementation of Transformative Mentoring and the Credible Messenger Mentoring approach. He is one of the Founding Members of the Credible Messenger Justice Center (CMJC), a collaborative effort between NYC Department of Probation (DOP), the CUNY Graduate Center and CCFY. The Credible Messenger Justice Center serves as a training and research center, policy and practice thought leader, and program incubator for an approach to social reform at the intersection of government, community and academia. The Center seeks to improve, legitimize and disseminate the practice of Credible Messenger Mentoring and other programming in communities and jurisdictions around the country as a change agent that is sustainable.
During this period, Maurice began his consultancy with CCFY where he developed a Field Manual of Best Practices for Project Directors of ARCHES, which included a series of workshops. Following this project, CCFY brought on Maurice as Project Director of Credible Messenger initiatives to oversee the 4As Mentoring Program (Arches Alumni Academy for Advancement), a citywide leadership development program for individuals who successfully completed ARCHES. In addition, while on staff, Maurice was instrumental in creating the Credible Messenger Boot Camp, a 5-day intensive for formerly incarcerated mentors working with justice-involved youth.
Maurice has gained recognition as a master trainer for Credible Messengers around the nation. He specializes in equipping programs to coach, supervise, and develop Credible Messengers, ensuring their personal and professional growth. Maurice has conducted numerous trainings on Credible Messenger Mentoring, Positive Youth Development, and Individual and Group Practice with high-risk adolescents for both justice system professionals and community stakeholders in New York City, Chicago, San Diego, and Washington, DC. Maurice continues to design and deliver training both for Credible Messengers in New York City and for visitors seeking to learn about New York’s model.
Systems EngagementAn integral part of Maurice’s strategy for effective youth and community work has been engaging the systems that affect justice impacted and justice involved youth and communities, such as the DA’s Forum, the Department of Probation and the 2015 Clean Slate Program in Harlem, to name a few. In November 2015, a Clean Slate initiative was held at the Soul Saving Station for Every Nation, “Court for a Day,” that vacated over 750 cases. It was the largest Clean Slate initiative in the Greater New York area. Maurice was previously also involved with the NYPD New Collaborative Policing Division’s Operation Ceasefire Initiative.
In 2017, the Health Access Equity Unit (HEAU) at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) invited Maurice to serve on its newly implemented Advisory Council. HAEU supports over 20,000 providers to focus on the well health and wellbeing of marginalized populations with an emphasis on the justice-involved living in the community. As part of Maurice’s contribution on the Advisory Council, he developed a community health bulletin and formal training for HAEU’s providers. HAEU is working at the intersection of primary care and public health to ensure that the justice-involved have access to the highest quality healthcare and social services possible. His participation on the Advisory Council has afforded Maurice access to potential opportunities that would benefit the Harlem communities during these unprecedented times.
Leadership by Example
Maurice’s dedication and commitment to helping youth allowed him little time by decision, such as relinquishing an opportunity at Nyack College, to follow the traditional academic path. It was a choice he made, a sacrifice to devote his time and energies to fulfill his vow to do everything in his power to help other youth escape the lure of the streets and have a better life. Maurice invests a great deal of time in alternative methods to educate himself, to be equipped, relevant and effective through self study. He is widely read across disciplines important to youth and community work: leadership, coaching, mentoring, youth development, mental health and other relevant areas of study. Maurice continues to participate in cutting edge industry, leadership and technology conferences, seminars, workshops, classes and webinars.
In 2010, Maurice was nominated for, accepted and successfully completed the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (DVULI), a 15-month program designed to empower Leaders who work with disadvantaged youths. DVULI is a national faith-based development program for youth workers.
In 2014, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative was launched to support and equip students in the youth justice field as Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellows. Due to the momentum ARCHES was gaining among institutions, including academia, John Jay extended an invitation to Maurice, and he successfully applied. His program received Positive Youth Justice Silver Medal recognition from the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College.
In 2017, Maurice completed the Columbia University Business School’s Spiritual Enterprise Program, which was adopted from their MBA program. Following his completion of the program, Maurice was invited to be a contributor for the Program.
In 2019, Maurice enrolled in LEAD.NYC’s Advanced Leadership Institute 2020 Leadership Cohort, a Nyack College accredited course to enrich and equip City leaders. The leadership program is an 8-month intensive training on key aspects of an organization such as Fund Development, Financial Management and Board Governance.
Through his relentless commitment and dedication to see at-risk, disenfranchised youth and families escape the entrenchment of systems that polarize and hinder their progression to quality education and opportunities for sustainable successful living, Maurice is demonstrating for them that they too can do it. His life is an example of the type of life Maurice wants to see become a reality for every youth, desiring that they have opportunities to excel beyond what he accomplished and be legacy bearers for their families. Maurice lives the philosophy that, if the student surpasses the teacher, the teacher has done his or her job well. He encourages not only the youth and young adults but also the teams that work with him to vigorously pursue to be more and do more: “deep and wide.”
Models, Approaches and Life Principles
Maurice’s approaches to youth work and life principles are grounded in developing and maintaining healthy relationships, one of his core values he has integrated in the Mission of all of his project initiatives, including Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub. Not only is it his approach to work, it is also a life principle he applies to his personal life as well.
Credible Messenger and Transformative Mentoring
Life on Life
Life on Life
Maurice currently serves as Assistant Pastor of Soul Saving Station for Every Nation, a community church that has been serving the children, youth and families of Harlem, New York, since 1942. He is a former Board member of the 125th Street Business Improvement District. Maurice is happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Samantha Winley, and is the proud father of Maurice Winley Jr.
What People Say
Maurice helped countless…
Leadership by Example
Maurice’s dedication and commitment to helping youth left him little time, by intention even when opportunities arose, to follow traditional academic paths. It was a choice he made, a sacrifice to be able to devote his energies full-time to his vow to do everything in his power to help other youth escape the lure of the streets and have a better life. To remain equipped, relevant and effective, Maurice invested in alternative methods to educate himself through self study, becoming widely read across key disciplies such as leadership, coaching, mentoring, youth development, mental health and other related disciplines. Maurice continues to participate in cutting edge industry, leadership and technology conferences, seminars, workshops, classes, and webinars. In [19____], Maurice applied to become an affiliate of John Jay College Pinkerton Graduate Research Fellowship. His program received Positive Youth Justice Silver Medal recognition from the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College. Most recently, Maurice completed __________\ at Columbia University, and is currently participating in the Nyack College accredited Advanced Leadership Institute 2020 Leadership Cohort led by LEAD.NYC. His lifestyle is the example Maurice desires to see become a reality for every youth he helps, desiring that they excel beyond what he has accomplished. Maurice lives out the philosophy that, if the student surpasses the teacher, the teacher has done his job well. He encourages not only the youth and young adults but also the teams that work with him to vigorously pursue to do more and be more: “deep and wide.”.
Maurice currently serves as Assistant Pastor of Soul Saving Station for Every Nation, a community church that has been serving the children, youth and families of Harlem, New York, since 1942. He is a Board member of the 125th Street Business Improvement District. Maurice is happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Samantha Winley, and is the proud father of Maurice Winley Jr.